Zombies are the Justin Biebers of monster fiction. In the past few years, our collective fascination with zombies has led them to being featured in thousands of novels, comics, TV shows and movies. There have been more zombie movies in the last decade than there have been in the entire history of cinema leading up to it. Part of the reason why zombies have become so successful is that they mirror our existence in modern society. They speak to our fears of being mindless slaves to the corporate machine. That, and the fact that they’re just cool – in a way that an undead thing that wants to eat you can be cool, of course.
A lot of the zombie material in pop culture is decidedly bleak. Even the games that feature zombies have players wandering around in bleak, depressing environments where danger lurks around every corner. To be fair, a zombie apocalypse wouldn’t exactly be a picnic. But all of this moroseness can be a bit much at times. Which is why Dead Rising stood out from the crowd – it took the zombies and put them into a ridiculous environment. When players could run over zombies with lawnmowers, stick shower heads in their scalps and even fight them as Capcom-inspired characters, it was tough to stay depressed.
Dead Rising has always taken a fun, satirical approach to the whole zombie problem. And now, Dead Rising 3 has finally arrived on the PC. PC gamers can now jump face first into the zombie apocalypse as Nick Ramos, and go about killing a genocidal amount of zombies in Los Perdidos. The game has been capped at 30 FPS and as a result, the zombie-killing mayhem produces more than the odd jitter and framerate drops. There’s a decent amount of content in the game though, since the four DLC missions are bundled with the game.
The Game Play:
The game starts off in the fictional city of Los Perdidos, which is in a worse condition than ever because of the rampaging zombies. You, as the protagonist Nick Ramos are trying to put together a vehicle that will allow you to get out of the city along with your friends. What’s more is that you have a limited amount of time to accomplish your goals before the zombies overwhelm you. Don’t be too afraid though – the default timer is more than enough time for most players to finish the game in, unless you’re playing on Nightmare. You’ll still have plenty of time to goof around and explore the map.
The game takes goofing around quite seriously, as you will find out when you are given absurd missions like collecting three spray cans. Needless to say, the game doesn’t feature a lot of deep character development. Our hero is head over heels for Annie, who is another survivor. At no point during the story does Nick’s dedication for her waver even slightly, so there’s no emotional tension to speak of. But then, this is Dead Rising we are talking about. The rest of the characters are equally generic and have as much personality as the zombies you will be fighting.
Dead Rising 3 wants you to kill zombies – a lot of them. Towards this end, it makes the zombies feeble and almost helpless. You are never in any real danger of dying or getting hurt unless you are throwing yourself into the middle of thousands of zombies. And even then, you might make it out alive. But this wanton massacre is part of the game’s appeal. You can climb up to a ledge or a rooftop and watch as the hordes flail and fall over each other as they try, and fail, to get to you. If you stand on a ramp, you’ll be able to rack up a Rambo-esque body count without lifting a finger. The targeting mechanism is very forgiving, and often you’ll find shots hitting zombies when they clearly should have vanished into thin air. If this wasn’t enough, you later find that the protagonist is basically immune to getting bitten by zombies. Why didn’t the developers just start you off with God mode and infinite ammo?
What I Liked:
If there’s one thing you can appreciate about this game, it’s the creativity afforded to you while killing zombies. You can literally stick grenades on top of a sledgehammer and wreak havoc. You can kill zombies with dictionaries, which is a fantasy a lot of people might have had about dictionaries in the first place. You can even rig up a vehicle with fireworks that impale zombies and send them shooting into the sky where they explode into glitter and gore. You’ll have to do a little exploration to unlock these goodies, since they’re present in blueprints scattered across the map.
They are pretty generic and consist of similar combinations of a few blocks of buildings connected via makeshift roads. Once you’ve been around a few times, you might be forgiven for not knowing if you were in this exact spot before, because the different sections of the map look so similar. There are also an annoying number of roadblocks on the way, which is a blatant mechanic to herd you into the path that the game wants you to take. Sometimes, these diversions lead to something good like a colossal explosion, but those are very rare.
Zombies, Zombies, Zombies:
The number of zombies in this game is tremendous. At any given point, you could be looking at hundreds of undead things walking about aimlessly or trying to find some brains to eat. Dead Rising 3 even supports the underlying theme that runs through all zombie fiction – even in a world full of the undead, the most dangerous creatures are humans. To this end, it features a bunch of boss battles, which are encounters you’ll have with various humans. The game aptly names them “Psychopath battles”. These boss fights are more challenging than any of the zombies you’ll encounter during the game. Even the new kinds of zombies that are introduced through menacing cutscenes are usually cannon fodder material. The human bosses, on the other hand, don’t die quickly, have intelligent attacks and are legitimate threats.
In case you were wondering, Dead Rising 3 makes all of the bosses either incredibly racist or juvenile humor stereotypes. So there is a Chinese guy who is a kung-fu fighter and wears Shaolin robes. Another boss is a flamboyant metrosexual who has a flamethrower shaped like a penis. There’s even a scantily clad policewoman. It’s unnecessary, and it feels like a cheap way to get a chuckle or two out of the audience.
Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition is a good way for PC gamers to experience the zombie-killing mayhem that was only available to console owners till date. The zombie killing still remains a lot of fun, and the increasingly inventive ways in which the game allows you to butcher the undead only makes it better. The game could have done without the low barrier of entry though, since the zombies themselves never pose any kind of real threat. The controls are too forgiving, and the game could’ve done without turning its bosses into caricatures.